Chicago, IL… Today State Representative Margo McDermed (R- Mokena) toured the Illinois State Police Chicago Crime lab and learned firsthand what the ISP is doing to address the DNA backlog and how her legislation will make an important impact on victim’s rights.
“In Springfield we have wisely addressed criminal justice reform. The processing of evidence like rape and DNA kits is an important avenue within that area that needs to be assessed to ensure that justice can be rightfully served in Illinois—both for victims and those wrongfully convicted,” Rep. McDermed said.
House Bill 1440 mandates the creation of a statewide rape kit tracking system, to be administered by ISP, and requires that it complies with the recommendations of the Sexual Assault Evidence Tracking and Reporting Commission. HB 1440, currently in the Senate, has significant bipartisan support and support from nationwide groups like the Joyful Heart Foundation. The funds for the system are to be derived from ISP appropriations and the tour included Governor Pritzker who promised to increase funding for ISP.
“Going through the rape kit collection process can be incredibly traumatic and it’s unconscionable that we let victims feel that it was all for nothing,” Rep. McDermed continued. “I’m incredibly proud of this legislation because it means that victims won’t be given the run around and that this will spur action on the backlog at the ISP crime labs.”
The tour covered an overview of how ISP’s new Laboratory Information Management System is already making a huge difference in how ISP efficiently handles evidence and information. The system will be modified and improved based on HB 1440 to allow for victims to access the status of the evidence in their case. While the language is not yet available, the bill is being modified in the Senate to allow for other victims, not just rape victims, to view their case status.
HB 1440 is sponsored in the Senate by Senators Dan McConchie (R-Lake Zurich) and Ram Villivalam (D-Chicago).